The disadvantage of having only one senior in the lineup last year was obvious to Bexley High School softball coach Bridget Ebenhack. The Lions struggled, finishing 2-21 after losing to fifth-seeded Whitehall 3-0 in the first round of the Division II district tournament.

The disadvantage of having only one senior in the lineup last year was obvious to Bexley High School softball coach Bridget Ebenhack. The Lions struggled, finishing 2-21 after losing to fifth-seeded Whitehall 3-0 in the first round of the Division II district tournament.

Bexley will open against Olentangy Orange on Tuesday, and Ebenhack hopes to see the plus side to last year's inexperience as the Lions return eight players.

"We have a lot more intensity this year," said Ebenhack, whose team also visits Jonathan Alder on April 2.

"We were able to start this season much further ahead than where we were at this time last year. Having so many returnees back, the girls know all the plays and cutoffs. Although some of them might be in new positions, they have that experience of playing together."

The Lions return seniors Molly Morgan, Lauren Farley and Rachel Hart, junior Lily Watson and sophomores Chelsea Gordo and Tori Delap as starters. Morgan and sophomore Kate Gingery will make up the pitching rotation. Morgan pitched 111 innings a year ago and had nearly three times as many strikeouts as walks.

"Molly brings a level of confidence and experience," Ebenhack said. "She's one of these girls who increases the intensity of the players around her."

Farley (3B), Hart (1B), and Gordo (2B) return to last year's positions. Watson started last year at catcher but has moved to shortstop. Freshman Bethany Barnes and sophomore Ruby Bemis are competing for time at catcher. Farley was the team's second-leading hitter at .230.

Delap will play center field. Senior Jenna Brannan, the team's leading hitter at .260, will be in left and junior Maggie Manfredi will be in right.

The Lions finished 0-12 in the MSL-Ohio Division behind champion Lakewood (11-1), which finished 32-2 overall after defeating Wellington 5-3 in the Division III state finale. Top-seeded Granville defeated Whitehall 7-1 for a Division II district title and finished 24-5 overall losing to Dover 5-1 in a regional final.

"Licking Valley, Lakewood and Granville are bringing a lot back this year," Ebenhack said. "Hopefully we can win a few games and finish somewhere up toward the middle of the league."

•Scott Brewer has a big senior class to work with in his first year as the baseball coach.

The Lions return six starters from last year's team that finished 15-9 overall losing to Jonathan Alder 7-5 in the second round of the Division II district tournament.

"I'm looking forward to building a program from the middle school up," said Brewer, whose team opens Monday against visiting Hartley and visits Dublin Jerome on Tuesday. "A lot of these guys have been playing together since they were sophomores. Building chemistry isn't an issue with these guys."

Seniors Max Schwartz (P/SS), Zach Fries (P/1B), Patrick Solomon (P/INF/OF), Alan Hess (P/OF) and Dillon Leary (P/INF) and junior Alec Touris (P/OF) are back.

Schwartz led the team in hitting (.395) and RBI (27) and led in innings pitched (52) and strikeouts (52) with a 2.96 ERA.

Also on the roster are senior Colin Zidar (OF) and Josh Adler (OF), junior Matt Snowberger (INF) and sophomore Adam Schwartz (INF).

The Lions, who batted .289 as a team last year, finished fourth in the MSL at 9-5 behind Heath (12-2), Licking Valley (11-3) and Newark Catholic (10-4). The Green Wave (Division IV) and the Bulldogs (Division III) lost in regional semifinals and the Panthers (Division II) lost in a district final.

"With Newark Catholic, Heath, Licking Valley and Lakewood, our league is usually one of the better leagues in the area," Brewer said. "Limiting our mistakes and hitting is going to be huge for us."

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for Bexley baseball, boys tennis, softball and boys and girls track and field teams:

BASEBALL

Monday -- Home vs. Hartley in opener

Tuesday -- At Dublin Jerome

BOYS TENNIS

*April 7 -- At Whitehall in opener

SOFTBALL

Tuesday -- Home vs. Olentangy Orange in opener

April 2 -- At Jonathan Alder

TRACK & FIELD

*April 2 -- At Columbus Academy

*MSL-Ohio contest